THE REGENT Centre celebrated 90 years of entertainment in Christchurch with a free screening of its original 1931 opening day film.

Over 300 local people attended the free screening of the ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, in celebration of its 90th birthday on Sunday, December 26.

This version of Shakespeare’s comedy starring Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, was an early 'talkie', and the first film shown when the Regent was officially opened on Boxing Day in 1931, by the town’s Mayor Councillor J.W Tucker.

The Regent was constructed by T.J. Rowley in just five months, at a cost of £25,000 (over £1.8 million in today’s money).

In addition to the main feature film, a Laurel and Hardy ‘short’ entitled ‘Towed in a Hole’ was shown on the Regent’s recently restored 35mm projector.

In keeping with tradition, the 300 strong audience stood at the end of the film for the National Anthem, ‘God Save the Queen’, which was customary in most cinemas during the Second World War up until the early 1970s.

The Regent’s 90th celebrations continue on Saturday, January 8, with a Backstage Tour at 10am, Prize Bingo at 12pm (a nostalgic throwback to its days as a Mecca Hall in the 1970s), a special showing of the Regent’s bestselling film ever ‘Downton Abbey 1’ (2019) at 3pm, and the classic comedy horror ‘Phantom of the Paradise’ (1974) on 35mm at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £5.

Later this year, on Sunday, May 22 at 7.30pm, the Regent will be holding a fundraising show, ‘A Celebration of Musical Theatre’.

From ‘Mack and Mabel’ to ‘La Cage Aux Folles, this live concert will feature classic showtunes from the past 90 years, all performed by talented local musical theatre groups.

Tickets are £10 (all proceeds to the Regent Development Fund).

All proceeds raised from these events will be donated to the Regent’s Development Fund and re-invested in the Centre for the benefit of the community for future generations to enjoy.

The Regent Centre’s General Manager, Oscar Sellick-Pilley, said:

“We’re delighted we were able to mark our 90th birthday on Boxing Day, inviting the local community to celebrate with us, as a thank you for their support over the past 90 years.

"The Regent saw record-breaking attendances for several events this year, which during these uncertain times, is an incredible achievement.

"Thank you to everyone who has continued to support us. We look forward to welcoming you to a bumper programme of events in 2022.”

Tickets are available at or from the Box Office on 01202 499199.